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Journalists and researchers bridge the gap to bring research results to the public

Rashida Resario, researcher at The University of Ghana

First published by Embassy of Denmark in Ghana on ghana.um.dk, 15 October 2019

New research findings are often of interest to the general public and policy makers but for journalists and academics, it can often be a struggle to speak the same language. Some journalists do not know where to find the latest research results or think that academic language is too complicated.

See the programme for Bridging the Gap. Science for the public 10-11 October 2019, Accra.

As a result, they do not write many articles about research findings. Researchers often believe journalists will simplify their studies and not show the whole truth and therefore do not reach out to journalists when disseminating the results of their work.

Journalist Emmanuel K. Dogbevi gave a presentation to the researchers.
Journalist Emmanuel K. Dogbevi gave a presentation to the researchers.

Communication is a science
Rashida Resario was one of the researchers at the workshop. She is working at the University of Ghana. To her, the workshop meant new insights into the importance of communicating research to a broader audience. In the future, she believes she will get in touch with more journalists to share her work.

“It is very encouraging to hear from journalists today that they are open to collaborate with us and share our findings. I will now consider journalists whenever I have results to share, I wouldn’t have thought of that before this workshop”, Rashida Resario explains.

Before it was different
“Mostly, when we were doing research we only looked into publishing it in a traditional journal. Therefore, we often lost sight of the wider audience. It is our responsibility to affect society with our research, and we cannot do that if we don’t reach a broad public audience” she says.

The foundation for the bridge is built
To Frederick Mensah, a journalist at Ghanaian Times, there is no doubt that science is important to the public.

“Science is the foundation for many decisions in our society, no matter if they are environmental, social, or political decisions,” he explains.

Therefore, he is also glad, that he now has some tools to write better research based-stories and communicate with researchers.

“Now I know where to go to get information about scientific studies. Before the challenges I met, was the communications gap. I just didn’t understand what the researchers said, hopefully, this will change now” he explains.

At the end of the workshop, the message was clear. Both journalists and researchers agreed to work together in the future.

“We have started a network now, let’s keep it alive” the message sounded.

During the seminar the participating researchers each wrote a pitch or a press release to the media. See the Pitch “Ghanaian researchers seek solutions to farmer-herder conflicts”. This pitch was recently used when the project “Access and Authority Nexus in Farmer Herder Conflicts in Kumasi” was launched on 19 November 2019. Ghanaian researchers seek solutions to farmer-herder conflicts.

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